Writing Guide

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Introduction

WordPress CMS Publishing.

Our writing interface uses the standard WordPress Editor (not wordpress.com) with some added customization. A majority of publishers looking to hire freelance writers use the same system, so this advice can be applied in your ongoing work as a freelancer. You also have a blog with WordPress CMS so you can practice & demonstrate your skills and apply these same principles there.

Be Professional.

Do not personalize the style of your article – or add things for no reason just because you think they are ‘interesting’.  The article is for your publisher, not you – and they do not want a million different colors and font sizes on their site.  Your article should match everyone elses’ article by using the default styles.

Keep it Simple.

Write the article with a neat structure, add some images – and apply some basic formatting.  You have your own wordpress blog that you can use to ‘get creative’ – do not spend waste time adding unneccessary things!

Online Publishing is Different.

Don’t try to make your article look like a magazine, with images in a ‘grid’ and text wrapped on either side. Magazines have fixed page sizes, and they conserve paper and ink by putting content into a small space.  You are publishing online, where the screen size can change – and people can easily scroll down the page.

Do not waste time trying to format images and pictures to wrap around each other.

You are the Editor.

If you don’t follow these guides and your article looks bad – do not expect your publisher to have someone edit it for you after you have already submitted it.  Your name is on the article and you should take pride and responsibility for your work.

Examples.

Below is an example of someone who has added far too many font styles, changed alignments, etc.  The results look terrible.

They could have saved themselves time, and had a better result by keeping things very simple.

Bad…

Image

Good…

Image

 

 

Title & Hashtags

Title

The title of your article must be very simple, literal and explain what the article is about.  Do not use ‘headline’ style titles that try to grab attention without including key topical words.

  • Be very literal with titles and include the main keyword.
  • Do use abstract terms, personal jokes or anything that can’t be simply understood.

Length

Try not to make the title too long.  Most people these days are reading media on their smartphones – if your title takes up multiple lines it will be harder to read.  Twitter also limits the number of characters – so trying to include a long title, hashtags, your name and a link will be very difficult.

Relevance

Try to distill the entire concept / message of your article into the title.  Remember that people need to find your article in order to read it.  If the title doesn’t contain any relevance to the content people will not read the article.

Good >> “Dublin : Guinness and Whisky in the Temple Bar”

This title is short and includes the keywords.  If someone is interested in Dublin, Guiness, Whisky or Temple Bar – they will probably read this article.  They will also more easily find the article if they do a ‘search’ for those keywords.

Bad  >> “Gettin Down in D-Town  : Green, White and Orange :

Until someone reads the article they won’t understand the title. But they wont bother to read the article because they don’t understand the title.  More importantly a seach engine has no idea what your article is about.

You are writing for strangers – not fans.  The title should focus on topic and relevance,  leave the creative writing for the content of the article.

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Hashtags / Keywords

Hashtags are a simple way of tagging an article for the interest of certain demographics or interest groups.  When your article is published to social medie , it will have these hashtags included in the post so that people searching for any of those terms will see the post in the results.  This will increase the reach of your articles.

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Search Engines

When writing an article for a person, we can simply use different ‘visual’ cues to show the reader what is the very important information.  The user sees a bigger font or different color and assumes this is the heading or keywords.

This works for people, but not for ‘search’ engines.  They need to be told specifically what information is the important stuff, and that tells them when to show your article to people – based on what keywords they are looking for.

Make sure you use the formatting tools to correctly prepare your article for ‘computers’ to read it – not just people.

Editing

Visual / Text Views

The two tabs at the far right of the editing window are vitally important. Visual view allows you to see a the ‘formatted’ version of your article, while the Text view allows you to see the HTML code.

It can be useful for you to see what the code looks like (for general understanding) but you will almost always use Visual view to edit and publish your article.

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Toolbar Toggle

  •  Make sure to switch on the toolbar, or you will not find the tools!

For some reason we will never understand, WordPress hides the most useful formatting tools.  To get them to appear, after switching to ‘Visual’ view you will need to press the ‘toolbar toggle’ button as shown.

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Resizing the Editing Window

You can make the editing window larger using the control at the bottom right of the frame.

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Headings

Headings

Headings are more than just a visual cue for the reader, but a specific type of text that is ‘tagged’ as being more important to the article than the general ‘paragraph’ text.

  • You must include headings.
  • Do not use H1 Type.
  • Do not add extra styles (bold or italic) to headings.
  • Use H2 for main paragraphs.
  • Use H3,H4,H5 for sub paragraphs.
  • Use headings that explain the next paragraph, and contain keywords – like ‘What to Do in Bali’

Heading 1 is reserved for the title of your article – which will automatically be assigned with the Heading 1 Tag.  You can use Heading 2,3,4,5 etc.

You should place headings at the beginning of each paragraph.

The Heading should be very literal, and help the user to understand what the next paragraph is about.  

Most importantly, a heading is defined by using the ‘Heading’ text types from the formatting toolbar – it is not just a bigger or different color of text.

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Paragraphs

It’s very important for various reasons, that you use a clear ‘heirarchy’ of headings and paragraphs.  Do not write the entire article in only one or two paragraphs and be sure to use headings.  Studies have shown that online readers have a much lower tolerance for ‘walls of text’.  You must break it up into easily understood headings and paragraphs.

Each paragraph should have a simple, clear heading.

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Keywords and Lists

Bold Text

Bold text can be used to highlight key words or sentences within the paragraph.

If a keyword or phrase appears that is really important, add a bold effect so that it stands out and the readers can easily see it.

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Bullet-Points

If you have a small list in your article, make it a bullet-point so that its easily visible.

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Links

Links

  • include at least a few links to useful resources.
  • only link to established, reputable sources.

To create a link, highlight the text you want to create a link from…

Then click on the link icon – and add the url (web address) you wish to link to.

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When people click the link, we don’t want to take them away from your article – so check the option to ‘open in a new tab’.

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Uploading Images

Upload Images

  • Include at least 1x image in your article.
  • Do not link images from another website,  upload the image.

Add Media

Firstly, use the ‘add media’ button to open the image uploading panel.

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Upload Files

Firstly, use the ‘add media’ button to open the image uploading panel.

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Wait for the Image to be Compressed… (~1 minutes)

To make sure images load faster, the file will be compressed after you upload it.  This can take up to a few minutes depending on the image.  Be patient!

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Title, Text & Description

Once you have uploaded the image you want to use, fill in the information about the image.

This is important – so that if you add an image of a palm tree (for example), google image search can know what the image relates to.

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Display Settings (recommended)

Alignment : None

This is the most simple way to align images  without interfering with text formatting, and will have the most consistent display on all devices & screen sizes.

Link : None

To avoid people being taken away from your article, make sure ‘link to’ is set as ‘none’.

Size : Medium

This is recommended to avoid images being too large – but you can use your own judgement based on the size of your image.  Avoid images more than 1200 x 1200.

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You can resize the image after it has been added, by clicking on the image and using the control at the corners.

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Featured / Thumbnail Image

Featured Image

When your article is shown as a preview on a homepage, social media (facebook, twitter) and image or thumbnail will be shown.

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First you must make sure you have uploaded some images and saved your article.

You will then be able to see the images, and select one to be used as the ‘featured image’.

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Videos

Videos

You can ’embed’ youtube videos into your article. To do so requires a basic piece of code as shown below.

Give this a try even if you have no experience.

Youtube Videos

Copy the text below and paste it into your article where you want the video to appear.

[vc_video link="placethelinkhere"]

Replace the ‘placethelinkhere‘ text shown with the link to your youtube video.

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Preview Results

You will not be able to see the video inside the editing window.

Save and ‘Preview’ the article to see the result.

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Maps

MAPS

To add a map to your article, you use place this code in any place.

Of course, replace the part that says ‘Address’ below with the actual address (or name) of the place you want to show on the map.
[single_map_place] Address [/single_map_place]